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Creative Casey's Blog

Friday, July 26, 2013

Altered Book Birdhouse

This project is all about opening yourself up to connections and the wonderful people you can meet by being present and authentic. If you haven't viewed my last post titled "Serendipity" then you should as that too is all about the amazing coincidences that can occur at any moment in your life.

While at The Brainery for the Altered Book workshop I took almost a month ago I sat next to this woman Linda and throughout the workshop we began talking about art and places we like to visit to pick up art supplies or find inspiration. She told me about these wooden birdhouses she and her husband make out of the old childrens "Golden Books". This resonated with me because my mom still has a large basket of all of my sister and my Golden Books from when we were children.  It brought a flashback to my "teacher" days- that is when I pretended to be a teacher and my dolls and stuffed animals were my students.  By the time the workshop was done Linda and I had exchanged information and she had volunteered her husband Rodger to make the custom wood birdhouse for me.

I went home, called my mom up and asked her to mail me up my favorite children's Golden book for this project. I had no idea the book would be Bambi (which may explain why I come from the country and a lot of family members hunt but I was always against it and never have). My mother crazily sent the book to me priority and it came the same day. What a mother I have!!  Then I connected with Linda and later that week went over to her beautiful home where I talked with she and Rodger about art, the birdhouses, and flower gardens (theirs is amazing and looks like a lot of work).  I left there an hour later with a smile on my face greatly anticipating receiving the birdhouse later the following week.

I picked up the wooden birdhouse with a promise to send pics of the final product.  I raced home and began working on altering the book and birdhouse. I carefully cut and use modge podge to put a page on each side of the birdhouse.  I did at least 3 coats of modge podge by the time I was done and used matte finish not glossy.  I found a branch outside, broke it to size and glued it into the hole as the peg of the birdhouse.   I put the roof on as Linda did hers where you staple the pages down and the cover of the book becomes the roof; however as I was laying in bed later that night and not sleeping I a new idea formed.  The following night I pulled the roof off and just using the front and back cover I cut out shingles about 25 per side of the roof. I then hot glued the shingles on the roof that I created out of cardboard and had stapled onto the birdhouse. To finish it I took the binding of the book and glued it down the center of the roof. I really liked the outcome of the roof this way and the entire final product is very cool.

Of course anyone who knows me knows I have to have a space for the creations I decide to keep so this sat on my table until the next brainstorm it.  Which was about a week later. I had my driveway sealed and when I was pulling up the wooden stakes that blocked the end of the driveway I thought "wow these are nice stakes for staking vampires to bad there's no vampires around." :) Yep, I have quite the imagination. Anyway, I thought one of the stakes would go nicely in my large house plant pot and decided that since the birdhouse didn't have a bottom it might be able to balance on the stand in the plant. And it worked! It is kind of like bringing the outside in. :)

Thank you Linda and Rodger for introducing me to this wonderful way of altering books!


Serendipity means finding luck in unexpected places.   A couple of weeks ago while turning in my fundraising money for the 5k race I noticed that Angels of Mercy, Inc. had been redoing their office/business space.  On one large wall there was a large mied media art piece and then 2 pieces on each side of the larger piece.  I recognized the style of the artwork and therefore the artisit. I asked the founder of Angels of Mercy, Inc. who the artist was (to confirm my suspciions) and asked how they acquired the pieces.

I was told the artist is Marlene Caroselli and Mary Jo and Josephone had met her, enjoyed her work and she volunteered to create some artwork for the space. Now how did I recognize this artist you may be asking yourself?  Well it is the artist who's artwork I purchased at the 6x6 exhibit this year! How crazy is that! After viewing over 5,000 pieces of artwork I chose Marlene's and then I happened to come across her artwork at Angels of Mercy when I happend to stop in one day. Now that's serendipity.

Perhaps one step better is that Mary Jo provided me with Marlene's contact information and encouraged me to call her.  I tried twice and then left a message. Marlene left one back commenting how much she appreciated my phone call and it had made her day. She said she didn't consider herself an artist but had been a teacher for many years. She has a studio in her home and enjoys creating.  She wanted to send me a little token for appreciating her artwork and calling her.

A few days later we connected by phone and I provided her with my address. In the mail a few days after was an 8x10 piece of her signature artwork. I'm planning on framing it and hanging it in my office at work.

Above is my 6x6 piece now hung with the others and below is a picture of the piece she mailed me.  Marlene also stated that she was going to host a luncheon with some artist friends this summer and wanted to invite me when it is planned. How amazing is that! :)

Repurpose that Old China

Last weekend my mom was visiting and while we had some plans (like the market and a comedy show) we had a leisure day and found ourselves stopping at yard sales on the way to our destinations.  At one yard sale a young couple had tables full of different patterned china from bowls, to cups, saucers, plates,  and so on.  I vaguely remember seeing some pictures on Pinterest where old china was used to created interesting pieces of outdoor art.  I had an idea and went with it.

For $3, I purchased 2 candlesticks, a plate, a bowl, and a cup and saucer all mismatched.  Later that evening I created the server. I figure I could use it for desserts, chips and dip, veggie and dip tray or other things.  It came out pretty cool and for now I have it on my dining room table in the center as a center piece.  I make some interesting dessert pieces out of clay or sculpy clay in the future to keep on it when it's not in use.  With the cup and saucer I glued them together and planted a couple of easylow maintenance   plants in it. I thought it will go with my other creative plant pieces I plan on putting on my work window sill this fall.

In case you want to create your own and want to know what material I used it was E6000 as the adhesive and sand paper. Lightly sand the areas on each piece that will be adhered to another piece and then place E6000 on each piece. Let sit for 24 hours and then it should be ready for use.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Art for Charity

I spent some time recently creating with donating in mind.  Here's what I ended up making.

**Six infant onesies that I'll be donating to Love Twice.  Four of these onesies are a new design. I used vintage crocheted flowers and painstakingly sewed them on each onesie. I believe I originally saw an idea like this on Pinterest a while ago.  I got the crochet flowers from Crafts Bit & Pieces for about .25 cents each. Three of the onesie were donated from a coworker and the other two I purchased at Savers for a dollar each.

Loved Twice:


We’re a non-profit organization clothing newborns in need with quality reused baby clothing for the first year of life. We collect gently-used baby clothes, sort these precious garments into boy and girl wardrobes-in-a-box, and distribute them exclusively through social workers in hospitals, shelters, and clinics.
Ours is a simple solution that supports disadvantaged babies while recycling thousands of onesies, swaddling blankets, and babywear that would otherwise end up in landfills.

**Update: I received the below thank you letter from the organization regarding the onesie donation. Although I don't expect to ever here from places when I made donations it is always nice when I do. The letter is below.

**I also spent an afternoon at my friend's house this weekend creating art. I brought over supplies to create Thank You cards for the Pay It Forward Postcards blog recommendation to Splashes of Joy Inc..  I made 4 sets of 4 cards. The images are general images found on google (thank you artists!). I printed them out, put them face down on the cards and used a transfer method to transfer the images onto each card. Then I actually used some patience and a thin black marker and hand drew over parts of each image, added my own flair and drew a border on each.  I then handstamped THANK YOU on each card.

Information on Splashes of Joy Inc.

Splashes of Joy Inc., a Montana-based, nonprofit organization provides gifts and services to ill or homebound people to help rekindle their internal joy that may have been temporarily lost due to illness or age. Volunteers provide meals, prayer support, house cleaning, home repair and help with pets, as requested. Local vendors donate products ranging from landscaping materials and balloons to manicures and haircuts. Splashes of Joy also provides a free library of uplifting DVDs and CDs for recipients, as well as a caretaker support group for those sustaining them.
Splashes of Joy would welcome donations of handmade greeting cards to share with the individuals they serve and work with. Uplifting cards of hope and encouragement; cards for birthdays and holidays; as well as thank you cards would be very much appreciated. You can learn more about this organization at

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Creative Terrariums

So anyone who knows me knows that I would rather by handmade gifts from crafters like myself to support unique quality handmade goods. It's the same for where I choose to go out to eat (small locally own restaurants, coffee shops, etc...). Again I find them more unique, a better creative atmosphere and much better food than chain places (yes even better than Starbuck's).

The Brainery hosts 20 handmade venders in their space the 2nd Saturday of each month. It's called The Brainery Bazaar I believe.  I decided to stop by and check it out today.  There was a lot of craft ideas and arts and crafts.  For some reason today I was drawn to the booth on terrariums.  I think because I was in a fun mood and at first glance I noticed the bright blue and hot pink dinosaur terrariums!  Awesome!!!  In the end I went back and purchased one. It was only $10 which seemed reasonable.

The cool thing about this terrarium is that it is made with an Air Plant. When I was told this by the owner of this shop, Jennie Papkin, my immediate reply was "What is that?"  For those of you like me that don't know an Air plant takes all their water an nutrients through the leaf system, instead of the root system.  They don not need or want soil to survive and like indirect light making them great for the home or office.  So, basically it's a little plant in my dinosaur with no roots or soil so all I have to do is pop it out and submerge it in a cup of water for about two hours once a week or just mist it with water 3x's a week. Now this is my kind of plant!  It's so cool I haven't decided if I will bring it into my office or leave it at my house. Perhaps I need another one!

If you are interested in purchasing a terrarium check out Terrariums & Co. by Jennie. She can be reached at or 585-310-9360.

Altered Book Projects: Recycle, Reuse, Relove

I started this altered book in the Altered Book class I took at The Brainery a couple of weeks ago.  Another person at the workshop gave me this book (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) because I didn't know what "decorative end covers" meant so the books I brought were boring. Apparently decorative end covers means the inside of the front and back cover are cool looking.  

In this first class (of what I hope will be a series) we learned basic folding techniques. I completely experimented with this book. Later I added the paper roses I had created and colored. In addition I ended the page folding on a picture of the hunchback being carried off in chains. Around the edges in black ink I wrote words/sentences questioning what beauty is and means.  I also added a brown tag that I colored and block stamped the words "What is Beauty" (it's hard to see in the picture).

Perhaps my favorite part of this book is that I experimented with cutting and putting in secret drawers. We hadn't learned this yet but it was described to me by another person at the workshop.  I bought a good box cutter which was also recommended and went to town.  Loved the final outcome!

My plan is to put this on a stand in the waiting room of our Wellness Center. I think it would be an interesting piece of work to display there.

Here's another folding technique we learned in the workshop. This is very simple and easy. Meditative even. I added patina by rubbing stamp ink pads on the flowers.  I still have to create some leaves, but my dad found this old barn lumber for me. I will cut it to the size I'm looking for. I had been given an awesome old book to use to cover the lumber but I'm not sure it is going to work because it is very old and brittle and the spine broke the covers apart just opening the book up. So I may still be on the look out for the right book cover.  The very last picture will show you the basic end product.

In the back on the table is the general look I'm going for though it will have my own twist.

**Update: Here's my finished flower piece!

Book Paper Rose Tutorial

I learned how to make these paper roses out of recycled book paper at an Altered Books workshop I took a few weeks ago.  You can do a million things with them.

Supplies Needed:
1.Book paper 3 4"x4" pieces
2. mini hot glue gun and hot glue sticks
3. scissors
4. toothpic
5. (optional) bone folder

Step One:
Take your first 4x4" square book paper and fold it so it makes a triangle. Do this again and one mor time until you have a small triangle. Then having the closed end facing you snip off a small curve on the right lower corner (this will be the center empty circle to your flower). Then on the other left corner to the upper corner draw then cut a half circle (this will be the petals). When you open it up you should have a one dimensional flower with a small hole in the center. Now cut out one petal from the flower.

Step Two:
Take your second 4x4" square book paper and repeat the first step (trace your half circles from the first flower if you want), except instead of cutting out one petal cut out two and keep them together.

Step Three:
Take your third 4x4" book paper and repeat the first step except cut out three petals all together.

Step 4:
Using the hot glue gun glue the seams of the first flower you made together. Do the same with the 2nd and 3rd flower.

Step 5:
Hot glue the 2nd flower into the first using a bead of glue at the bottom of the flower. Then glue the 3rd flower into the 2nd the same way.  Do the same with the 3 cutout petal and put inside the smallest flower.

Step 6: Take the 2 petal cutout and the 1 petal cut out and using the toothpick curl up the petals. Hot glue the small petal into the other 2 petal and then glue that into the center of the rose.

Step 7: Using the toothpick gently curl the edges of each petal and each layer.

Tadah you've made a recycled book paper rose!

Optional ideas: I used stamp ink pads and a little water to touch a few spots of the rose to add a patina to them. You could you coffee or tea to give it an old look or water color paints.  Another ideas is to make a paper rose wreath or a bouquet or center piece. Starting out with smaller or larger paper squares will give you different size rose.

Please feel free to leave comments and pics of your rose creations!